Prayer Tree Grows at the Methodist Church

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The prayer tree in Natick for HS graduation 2020. Credit: Rebecca McGee Tuck

Anyone driving by the Weston United Methodist Church at 377 North Avenue may have recently noticed the addition of a small red steel-and-fabric tree in the front circle, where the Halloween pumpkins were scattered in times past. The Owl traded some communications with the Reverend Dr. Pat McHugh to find out the meaning of this happy tree.

“In addition to our Bible Box and the Prayer Request Box, the Prayer Tree is a way for us to invite folks to add their prayers,” said Reverend McHugh. “We want people to know that our church prays for the needs of the people, and there are many ways to share your prayer requests. The prayer tree was developed as a visible, and hopefully fun, way to bring the values of prayer and community together. ”

The tree sculpture is on loan to the church from the artist, Rebecca McGee Tuck of Natick. On the artist’s website, you can get more information on the Prayer Tree, which is actually a “Clootie Tree”. In ancient Celtic tradition, a “Clootie Well” was a holy place. Pilgrims would travel to these wells in hopes of using the healing power of the water to cure ails, leave offerings to their gods, and expecting their prayers to be answered. Nearby trees became spontaneous collective memorials where offerings were hung as a representation of their prayer or wish.

In the case of the UMC Prayer Tree, people are invited to take a piece of fabric from the box and write a message or a prayer then tie it to the branches of the Prayer Tree. These handwritten notes become a visually stunning collage of hopes and prayers. Wherever the tree stands, collective thoughts will have the power to send these prayers onwards!

For the prayer tree, anyone can stop, fill out a fabric prayer strip, and add it to the tree–instructions are now on a board in front of the church. In addition, in the Bible Box, there is paper and pencil to leave your prayer requests. The Church has a dedicated prayer phone line, 781-894-5858.  All of these prayers are gathered up each week by the prayer coordinator, and a time is set for a group to lift up all of the prayer requests.

Weston United Methodist Church, 377 North Avenue. Mother’s Day Service is in person this Sunday at 10:30 am.

4 comments

  • Thank you for the everyday writings! Amazing how prolific you are to write so much fun and meaningful stuff.

    The beautiful prayer tree you wrote about today makes me think of the wishing bandannas waving in the mountains of Tibet. The first time when we saw the colorful chain of waving bandannas when we got closer and closer to the eastern Tibet in China, we couldn’t make of what that was for. We asked our tour guide who explained that it’s a chain of “wishing bandannas,” common to Tibetan culture. When we entered more deeper into the eastern Tibet, we saw more and more of these, decorating the mountains. People also told me that beside carrying well wishes and grieving thoughts to the dead, they were also used to tell weather, show artistic talents, and to show determination in hanging and renewing those bandannas in the mountains.

  • there was also a prayer tree in Walden Woods during he last Art Ramble. One of the most popular art works.

  • Thank you everyone for appreciating and participating in the Prayer Tree (aka the Clootie Wishing Tree) at the Weston Methodist Church:). Yes, one of my trees was also at the Art Ramble a few years ago. If you or any organization that you are part of would like to have a Wishing Tree made or have an event that you would like to rent one for, please contact me through my website RebecccaMcGeeTuck.com. Many thanks! The Clootie Wishing Tree is my favorite collaborative sculptures.

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